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Importance of visiting schools

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Importance of visiting schools [#permalink] New post 05 May 2007, 14:47
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Reading the various forums, I've seen many people emphasize the importance of visiting schools of interest before completing the applications. Other than for personal interest, does visiting a school give you an advantage when it comes to admission?
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 [#permalink] New post 05 May 2007, 14:56
Seems like most schools have an essay about why you want and MBA and why you want to go there. Visiting a school makes it a lot easier to tell them that their school is a good fit for you. Plus it makes it look like you are serious about their school if you travel to visit it. They most likely wont hold it against you if you live far away and never visit but it definitely is a plus.

For your own personal knowledge it would be good to know that a school will be a good fit for you beyond just having a brand name...which is important but you dont want to spend two years in a situation you can't stand.
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 [#permalink] New post 12 May 2007, 12:27
I would agree with the previous comments.

I didn't travel to Duke, UNC, or Yale before applying. I did go to Cornell (which is just up the hill) and to Stanford and Berkeley. I got into UNC and Duke, so it obviously didn't hurt me too much. But it would certainly have been easier to write the essays if I'd gone in advance.
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 [#permalink] New post 12 May 2007, 13:28
I think depending on what schools you are thinking of applying to it could make a huge difference in wanting to apply. Lifestyle and climate could be a huge shock for some people if they have never seen a place. You can't really understand what a place is like from reading about it, to really appreciate it you have to see it for yourself. For example, if you have lived in big cities for a long time and enjoy the exciting fast paced life Dartmouth might be a horrible fit. If you grew up in Florida then it might be important to visit a northern school like Cornell or Rochester in winter before deciding to apply.
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 [#permalink] New post 12 May 2007, 13:32
Some schools seem to be more particular about visiting than others. Visiting is always positive (unless you make a very bad impression), but if you can't spare the time to visite them all, then pick the ones who care the most.

The ones which I have heard care more than average are: MIT, Darden, Duke (but that would be countered by AAu's experience) and Tuck. Maybe others can chime in with some other schools, but that's the ones I know about.

Apart from providing material for the apps, visiting schools is also good to:

a) Fine tune your portfolio (i.e.: don't waste time applying to schools you don't like).
b) Make the schools feel you are more committed than average to them and therefore counter (to a certain extent) any yield concerns they may have.

Hope it helps. L.
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 [#permalink] New post 12 May 2007, 17:42
To clarify, I think that visiting before applying can help you understand the school and craft a better app. It can also score you points for doing your homework.

If you haven't visited before applying, visiting for your interview is probably pretty important. I did all of my interviews on-campus.

And Lepium was right that it depends on the school -- some of them REALLY want you to visit. Berekely has an essay question on what you've done to learn about the school. And Duke and UNC require interviews, and are very serious about students coming to visit.
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 [#permalink] New post 12 May 2007, 20:25
lepium wrote:
Some schools seem to be more particular about visiting than others. Visiting is always positive (unless you make a very bad impression), but if you can't spare the time to visite them all, then pick the ones who care the most.

The ones which I have heard care more than average are: MIT, Darden, Duke (but that would be countered by AAu's experience) and Tuck. Maybe others can chime in with some other schools, but that's the ones I know about.

Apart from providing material for the apps, visiting schools is also good to:

a) Fine tune your portfolio (i.e.: don't waste time applying to schools you don't like).
b) Make the schools feel you are more committed than average to them and therefore counter (to a certain extent) any yield concerns they may have.

Hope it helps. L.


I agree with lepium

if you take a look at MIT's app, you will see how much it cares about how much you know about the Sloan.

I believe Darden wants to make sure that you will be comfortable with their 100% Case study approach. Visiting the school and showing that you are all for the case study will earn you some points.
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 [#permalink] New post 12 May 2007, 21:36
Thanks everyone for your great advice.

I am very seriously considering both Berkley and MIT, and it sounds like it would really help my chances if I visited them prior to applying. I live in Vancouver, so unfortunately neither school is close by.

So, do I just show up and look around, or can I arrange a meeting with some current students?
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 [#permalink] New post 12 May 2007, 22:53
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csgreen wrote:
Thanks everyone for your great advice.

I am very seriously considering both Berkley and MIT, and it sounds like it would really help my chances if I visited them prior to applying. I live in Vancouver, so unfortunately neither school is close by.

So, do I just show up and look around, or can I arrange a meeting with some current students?


I can't stress enough how much you need to visit MIT, especially if you live in the US. It makes a difference with internationals living half the world away, so I'd expect it to almost a requirement for US residents/citizens. Another MIT hint: apply in R1. The class is too small, so the common wisdom which states that applying in either R1 or R2 is the same doesn't apply to MIT.

I didn't visit MIT, but I did visit some other schools, and the usual visit breakdown seems to be:

a) Class visit.
b) MBA program presentation / Q&A.
c) Some sort of meet and grip with students who volunteer to do so. At HBS this was called student lunch and at Ross it was a "breakfast with a student" (don't remember the actual name of the event).

Also, make sure you attend any information sessions the schools host near your area. It will give you a chance to get a presentation by the adcoms, ask questions and meet alumni. You could even end up making a good impression to a future interviewer, so don't go completely unprepared to these events.

You can always call or e-mail the school, and get them to help you to try and meet local alumni in your area, etc.

Cheers. L.
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 [#permalink] New post 13 May 2007, 05:33
I would definitely recommend doing an official visit. You'll get to visit classes, etc. GMATT, who applied to only one school (and got in!), found unofficial visits also very important. You can wander around on your own and form your own impression without being swayed by the school's well-choreographed song-and-dance. If I had had the money and the time, I would have done an official visit and then spent the following day wandering around on my own.

And for me, I REALLY wish I had had more time to check out the area. I am a community-minded person, and living in a place where I feel at home and in touch with the town is so important to me. I had little time for that, so I'm kinda winging it, which makes me nervous.
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Re: Importance of visiting schools [#permalink] New post 30 Jul 2010, 23:22
Reviving an old thread here as I couldn't find relevant discussion on this elsewhere.

I would like to know how important it is to visit school events that are held in my own country. I will have to travel quite far to attend this event so I want to know how useful such events are. Some questions that crossed my mind -

Who are the representatives of the school who usually conduct such events?
Does attending such events make any impression on the admissions committee? Will they really get to remember if I visit this event and then apply to the school?
What can I expect to see and hear in such an event?
What knowledge should I try to take away from such an event if I do decide to go? Is it important to meet and talk to the committee?
What is the dress code for such an event? (please explain the term business casual, etc)

I just got an event invite but I'm not sure what I should try to achieve and what I should try to convey in such a visit. Hoping someone can explain the importance of such events.
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Re: Importance of visiting schools [#permalink] New post 31 Jul 2010, 04:10
sidhu4u wrote:
Reviving an old thread here as I couldn't find relevant discussion on this elsewhere.

I would like to know how important it is to visit school events that are held in my own country. I will have to travel quite far to attend this event so I want to know how useful such events are. Some questions that crossed my mind -

Who are the representatives of the school who usually conduct such events?
Does attending such events make any impression on the admissions committee? Will they really get to remember if I visit this event and then apply to the school?
What can I expect to see and hear in such an event?
What knowledge should I try to take away from such an event if I do decide to go? Is it important to meet and talk to the committee?
What is the dress code for such an event? (please explain the term business casual, etc)

I just got an event invite but I'm not sure what I should try to achieve and what I should try to convey in such a visit. Hoping someone can explain the importance of such events.


These sessions are useful, but less so than the school visit. It gives you a chance to meet with people from the school (usually they're run by admissions officers, and many times will include local alumni). I would view this as an opportunity for you to learn more about the school, not to make an impression on the adcom. They will meet many people on the trip, so the likelihood that you're going to make an impression that will influence an admissions decision is pretty slim. Generally, there will be a formal presentation on admissions (process, what the school looks for in candidates), and on the school and program(s) offered. Some schools have alumni talk about student life, culture, etc.

Like the school visits, attendance at these events is not something that factors into admissions decisions. However, they are an opportunity to learn more about the school and how you'd "fit" there, and allow you to better tailor your application to demonstrate that understanding.
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Re: Importance of visiting schools [#permalink] New post 31 Jul 2010, 04:35
Thanks jerz. I was under the impression that attending this event and talking to the folks there would somehow make a good impression which could be leveraged later on, maybe in the interviews or so.
Is it ok to try and make some alumni contact during this event, someone who might be ok to read my app to that school and provide tips?
Also, the invite said dress code was business attire. Does that include tie and blazer?
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Re: Importance of visiting schools [#permalink] New post 31 Jul 2010, 13:42
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sidhu4u wrote:
Thanks jerz. I was under the impression that attending this event and talking to the folks there would somehow make a good impression which could be leveraged later on, maybe in the interviews or so.
Is it ok to try and make some alumni contact during this event, someone who might be ok to read my app to that school and provide tips?
Also, the invite said dress code was business attire. Does that include tie and blazer?

Sure, there's a chance that you'll speak to someone from the admissions committee, but I doubt it'll be the case. Still worth making the trip though.

As has been mentioned, the real value is in getting an impression of the school from the presentations and staff. If you get on well with certain alumni you can certainly ask to keep in touch. Doing a thorough read of an application is time consuming, so just be sure to gauge their mood and enthusiasm before asking for a full blown review :)

I was sceptical about the need to visit schools and attend information sessions initially, but I'm very glad I did. You may not come away with much new info about the school, but I'd be surprised if you didn't glean something which could make you that bit more confident when discussing your choice of course at interview. Plus it’s perfectly reasonable for an interviewer to ask why you didn’t attend an info session.

Even though you won't be visiting the school directly, you'll have interesting discussions with people which you can reference in your interview. For example, you could mention a conversation you had with somebody with your background who managed to transition to your target industry. Or perhaps somebody who has had broad international experience, which proved in your mind the global nature of the school. And so on.

I’d take business casual to be smart trousers and a shirt. No need for a tie a blazer.
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Re: Importance of visiting schools [#permalink] New post 31 Jul 2010, 21:00
@planettelex,

Thanks, you make good points there. I think I will go just to get a feel for what these info sessions are like. :)
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Re: Importance of visiting schools [#permalink] New post 01 Aug 2010, 04:10
sidhu4u wrote:
Also, the invite said dress code was business attire. Does that include tie and blazer?


Business attire would be a suit (technically a trousers/tie/blazer combo is more casual than a full suit and wouldn't fit the bill for business attire). Business casual would be as planettelex described, with a blazer optional but not needed.
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Re: Importance of visiting schools   [#permalink] 01 Aug 2010, 04:10
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